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Afro-Cuban Coordination for Drumset: The Essential Method and Workbook
Afro-Cuban Coordination for Drumset: The Essential Method and Workbook
by Maria Martinez
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.29
31 used & new from $7.23

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much At Once, February 13, 2013
I was introduced to this book by an intermediate student who brought it to me because he was having so much trouble with it. I was immediately able to see why: in my opinion, this book is sorely lacking in the foundational and basic exercises that are necessary for players to learn new concepts. Instead of taking the time to create simple exercises that become more complex as you progress, Martinez throws the student head first into somewhat complicated patterns that require a good deal of independence and skill to play properly. Take a look at the very first exercise and you will see that the student is expected to maintain a cascara pattern with the right hand, a clave pattern with the left hand, as well as syncopated accompaniments with the right and left feet. Hardly a good place to start a book that isn't meant for advanced students.

It is indeed a good book for advanced players, but could be great for players of all levels if only she had taken the time to include more developmental material. The student is left to their own devices in breaking down the patterns so as to be able to play them; which I feel is a disservice to a developing drummer. Look at any of the best drum books out there and you will see that they always start off simple and build upon the layers of development. Not so in this book. It is more or less just a book of charts, and not very good as a method or workbook if you ask me.

I would suggest looking elsewhere unless you're an advanced or late intermediate player, or you enjoy the art of breaking down patterns into smaller components yourself. Otherwise I am willing to bet there are far better books out there.


Pink Floyd "The Dark Side Of The Moon" (30th Anniversary) Packaging Including Stickers & Posters, 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl, plus New 30th Anniversary Poster.
Pink Floyd "The Dark Side Of The Moon" (30th Anniversary) Packaging Including Stickers & Posters, 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl, plus New 30th Anniversary Poster.
10 used & new from $48.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Vinyl..., December 21, 2011
The sound of this pressing is very high quality and worth the money if you're really into analog sound and have a setup that can do this justice. While I can't tell much of a difference between this remaster and the 2003 remaster that went onto SACD, it is certainly a welcome addition to the collection since I never had DSOTM on an analog source before.

The only gripe I have is that the free download is only offered in the inferior MP3 format. This makes no sense to me, as I assume that anyone who is willing to shell out $30+ for an album on 180 gram audiophile grade vinyl is probably someone who cares very much about the quality of their audio sources. Does it make sense to sell the highest possible quality record with a free download that is of less than CD quality? They couldn't either include a free CD or maybe a .flac download instead? That is kind of confusing and a bit insulting to my audiophile intelligence.

But otherwise, a must buy for the lover of analog.


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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is., October 24, 2011
This review is from: 2 (MP3 Music)
This album is so typical of one very particular type of sound that it's easy to write several different reviews, each one in the voice of a different type of fan.

People who like the balls-to-the-wall heavy rock sound of simple riffs on distorted guitars over lumbering beats with screaming vocals will think it's a masterpiece. Good for them - they have a new album that fulfills their desires in every way. It's a solid hard rocker with all of the elements in place and then some. It takes no prisoners and grinds along from track to track with heavy rock brilliance.

People who hope for a little innovation or a little something to set a new album apart will be disappointed. There really isn't anything here that you haven't heard before, or that is truly exceptional. It is almost laughable in how typical it is; nothing you can't get from any local heavy riff rock outfit. It lacks any serious imagination, innovation, groove, atmosphere, etc. It's as straight ahead as straight ahead gets in one very specific sound. If you're not a fan of stomping scream rock, you will roll your eyes and turn this off very quickly.

But in the end that is the strength of the record. So while I fall into the latter category of people who have little interest in this sort of music, I recommend it highly to the former group. I and others like me will not be listening to this at all, but the rest of you will, and should. It's a solid recording of top notch musicianship. It just happens to fall into a very specific genre of music and doesn't go beyond it. Which, for a lot of fans, is exactly where it needs to be. Turn it up and have a go.

MK
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2012 5:16 PM PDT


I Love Scottish & Irish Sea Songs
I Love Scottish & Irish Sea Songs
16 used & new from $0.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now that's dedication..., November 24, 2009
Tower Records was closing. I wanted to buy just one more thing from them. My eyes found this disc, and for two dollars, I was hearing a fun recording by a man on a mission.

This guy played every instrument and sang every part on this album. And he does it well. Dedication! Especially to such a strange mission as to make a disc like this one.

So much fun. Worth every penny and more.


Mel Bay presents Ethnic Asian Rhythms for the Modern Drummer
Mel Bay presents Ethnic Asian Rhythms for the Modern Drummer
by Lewis Pragasam
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.96
7 used & new from $5.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 pages!, April 29, 2009
Wow...I admit I should have read a little closer! When this arrived I thought they had sent me a copy without the inside pages.
Basically you just get a folder with a few rhythms along with a CD. Now while the rhythms are very useful and the CD is as well, this is hardly something I would have paid ten dollars for if I had known it was three pages.
Yes, I know, it says that right here. I didn't bother to look. I simply assumed that like any other drum book, it was a book. Especially for ten dollars.
I'm really only rating it as low as I am because they lie to you when they say it's four pages! It's really only three. To consider the front cover as a page is really in bad taste.


Sony BDP-S550 1080p Blu-ray Player (2008 Model)
Sony BDP-S550 1080p Blu-ray Player (2008 Model)
4 used & new from $120.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Choice For Older Receivers, February 18, 2009
If you're like me and your receiver doesn't have HDMI in, nor does it decode any of the new HD audio formats, but does have discrete 5.1 or 7.1 inputs, you would be hard pressed to get a better Blu Ray unit than this one. For the money it's the best player to offer on board decoding and the analog outputs to let you have HD sound without shelling out the bucks to replace what is probably a perfectly good receiver already sitting on your rack.

As a player, it performs nicely. I've little to compare it with since this is my first Blu Ray unit, but I'm a good bit knowledgeable about electronic toys in general - and this one does everything very well.

A little slow on the loading times but you can't have everything be perfect all the time.

It upsamples standard DVD's to look quite beautiful depending on the quality of the source material. Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Braveheart all looked wonderful; but Last of The Mohicans left a bit to be desired. It's all about the source.

For Blu Ray I found it on par or better than my friend's PS3. Plus with the discrete outputs, I get to hear Dolby and DTS HD tracks while he has to save up for a new receiver.

Good unit. But look around and get it for under $300. I managed to get it from a reputable seller on ebay. I couldn't be happier.


Samsung PN50A550 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV
Samsung PN50A550 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Buy, February 18, 2009
I spent many months researching and shopping before picking this unit. I considered DLP, LCD and plasma very closely; weighing the pros and cons of each technology and then comparing the best products from various brands.

Why did I eventualy choose plasma?

DLP - biggest bang for the buck as far as size goes. Now while I do wholeheartedly believe that size matters in a display, I found many of the same flaws in DLP projection sets that I found in the old big screens of yesteryear - rather a dim and desaturated picture coupled with a lack of sharpness. Add to this the fact that rear projection sets are a dying technology and non-LED DLP sets have a lamp that will eventually burn out to cost me money, it is obvious why that choice was crossed off the list quickly.

LCD - definitely has the sharpest picture plus no worres about screen burn. Add to that a good level of energy efficiency plus a relatively light weight unit and it's definitely something I consdered closely. But when viewed next to a plasma set the colors just weren't as vivid on even the best models. Black levels are of course leaving something to be desired. Then comes sticker shock: the best LCD's cost almost twice as much as this model of plasma. And even with the new 120hz refresh rates that are so touted by the advertising hype hustlers, they still suffer from motion blur.

Plasma - deepest blacks and most vivid colors. Best cost to size ratio second to DLP. No motion blur. But worries about ghosting and burn in. And not as energy efficient as LCD.

I decided to take a chance on plasma and couldn't be happier.

I picked this unit due to its superior picture, simplicity of design and great price point.

Compared to the Panasonics this unit presents a better value and a superior image quality. Compared with the other Samsung (PN50A650) it has the same image quality and a better value. The only thing that the latter model Samsung has over this is an improved anti-reflective screen (more on that later) and an additional HDMI input.

Being as though I will be keeping my room dark, the reflection issue wasn't a concern. And three HDMI inputs is more than enough for me at this time considering I only have a Blu Ray player and cable TV to worry about. No reason to spend more money just for an additional input and better anti-reflection.

Now as for that reflection issue so often reported on plasma TV's, I have found it little bother. In fact it's less noticeable than it was on my old CRT unit. And if you're comparing it to LCD, keep in mind that the newer LCD screens which can boast near plasma like color saturation and black levels also have very reflective screens. Matte screens are a great choice if they are something you want, but keep in mind that you will be trading off for losing some of that picture quality.

For those of you still on the plasma fence and worried about ghosting and burn-in, my experience thus far is that you've nothing to fear so long as you don't leave the TV on all night with a static image on the screen. So far I've spent a good hour or so on the computer, watched several 4:3 sources, and several letterboxed widescreen films - all with no issues whatsoever. I run the pixel shift function when I can. I also switch over to the auto scrolling feature after I finish watching something or using the computer just to make sure. I've yet to see a hint of ghosting. And this is on a brand new unit. It's said that plasmas are most susceptible to ghosting and burn in when they're in their first one hundred hours of use. That makes me even more confident in this unit as the weeks and months go by.

In use:

The menus and setting are fairly easy to understand. The remote is backlit and well laid out, with large number buttons and the function buttons are easy with which to familiarize yourself. I especially liked that there is a picture size button that allows you to change aspects without having to enter any complicated array of settings to go through.

The not so great:

A lot of reports have come out that these units run hot. They do. Standing close to this TV definitely gives you a noticeable heat. But then it's not often that I'm standing within two or three feet of it, so I don't notice. But in a small room that is poorly ventilated or non-air conditioned you may want to consider that factor before you purchase.

Another common complaint people have for this TV is a slight hum. I can confirm this is also true. But it's not loud at all and you won;t even notice it unless you're in a very quiet environment and the sound is muted. Otherwise you won't know it's there.

The speakers aren't amazing. But be realistic: you're about to spend over a thousand dollars on a 50" 1080p television and you don't have a proper surround sound system waiting for it? You're going to watch Blu Ray movies with TV speakers? You know you aren't! Honestly if I could have opted to have no speakers on this unit (and no tuner for that matter) and save some money on the price tag, I would have eagerly done so. I really only tested the speakers just because I read so many complaints about them. Otherwise I have them turned off and doubt I will ever use them. I'm sure most of you will be doing the same.

All in all, very satisfied thus far.


Bram Stoker's Dracula [Blu-ray]
Bram Stoker's Dracula [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Gary Oldman
Offered by discountedmediaoutlet
Price: $10.80
77 used & new from $2.68

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Dark Blu Ray Transfer, January 7, 2009
I will refrain reviewing the film here (as obviously it's one of my favorites or I wouldn't have purchased it on Blu Ray) but instead concentrate on the transfer and content, which I found satisfactory but not exceptional.
Firstly, the deleted scenes were a great addition to the Blu Ray disc. I only wish there were more! Being the nerd that I am, I had purchased a companion book to the film back in 1992 that had the whole script and now finally I get to see those scenes I had only previously been able to imagine.
The transfer was decent, but honestly I would have wished for a little more in the way of brightness. I ran this simultaneously with my old Superbit DVD and kept switching back and forth to compare. Now while the obvious clarity and sharpness of HD, along with greater color depth was apparent, I did notice that the Blu Ray was markedly darker. Some shadow detail was lost as a result, and oddly enough I found myself seeing small details in the DVD that were rather obscured on the Blu Ray. Somewhat disappointing.
The other thing was odd - the English subtitles that are displayed in the opening sequences had changed in font from the original. On this version they are in a very standard looking font, whereas the old VHS and DVD versions had a more old fashioned style font that I personally feel matched the look of the film more effectively. A very minor gripe but still, stylistically speaking it seems a little incongruous and unnecessary on the whole.
Part of me hopes that perhaps a special edition or director's cut may lie in the future. I'd love to see the deleted scenes restored, a slightly brighter transfer, and those original subtitles back in action.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2010 3:18 AM PDT


Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $17.88
112 used & new from $4.53

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but too much repetitive frustration., December 10, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I know there are a lot of gamers out there who really get into the whole puzzle and menial task aspect of the hobby, but I am not one of them. I like to actually play my games. I dislike having to go through the frustration of figuring out how to get from one place to another, or how to unlock things to allow the story to progress. A little bit of that can be fun, but in the case of this game it makes it almost too annoying to continue playing.

And this why: many times when you die, you get set back so far in the play that you sometimes even have to sit through the same mini cut scenes every time you move to the set off points. What's worse, you often have to re-kill several of the larger enemies. Eventually this sort of thing brought me to the point of deciding the game was no longer fun. There are only so many times that I will want to repeat the same tasks before realizing I have far better things to do with my so called life. Just wait until you get to the Death Star level - this is where if ever you should die, (which likely you will) after having sat through Juno telling you what to do, defeating two AT STs, two purge troopers, several peons, and Imperial Royal Guards - after having played around on the gravity beams - you will have to repeat this again and again any time you die in the frustration of trying to figure out just where you're supposed to be going.

I'm sorry but being set so far back really makes you realize what a waste of time it is to be playing video games in the first place.

So what had started off as great fun and classic beat 'em up gameplay quickly degenerates into frustrating repetition and the growing realization that you should be finding far more important things to do with your precious time.

Too bad though. This would have been a fun game if only it had more action and less repetition and fewer annoying "puzzles" that must be repeated almost after every time you die. Moral of the story: don't ever, ever, ever die in this game unless you enjoy having a sort of Groundhog Day effect upon your life as you sit idly in front of a TV wasting away.


No Title Available

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Bag For Superzoom or SLR, November 18, 2008
While I admit that it was the overall style that first attracted me to this bag, (it has a sort of old fashioned explorer/adventurer look as opposed to the typical nylon camera bags) it really is a very versatile and functional product that seems well made. There are many pockets for stashing various accessories and other items and the padding inside seems like it will protect your investment quite well. The best part is that it's relatively roomy inside for a smaller sized bag. I was able to fit my Panasonic FZ28 along with all of its included accessories and my filter set in the main compartment. Memory cards, extra batteries and the like will easily find places in the many pockets provided. Great product.
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